Financial experts yesterday advised the Federal Government to avoid bureaucratic bottlenecks and ensure quick release of funds for optimal performance of the 2018 budget.
The experts gave the advice in separate interviews with newsmen in Lagos, while reacting to the 2018 budget signed by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday.
The Department of Economics, Prof. Sheriffdeen Tella, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun, said the government should embark on damage control by ensuring quick release of budgetary allocations.
He said the availability of funds would go a long way in achieving some credible performance of the budget by the first quarter of 2019.
The economist said the economy would continue on an upward trend if there was no external macroeconomic shock.
He said the government should ensure that domestic prices were not significantly affected by spending on political activities.
“The budget of N9.12 trillion might look quite unrealistic, but we have to look at the current revenue in terms of current price of oil as against when the budget was presented.
“What was the exchange rate then and now, and the inflationary rate going down? The economy actually requires reflation to get us out of the depression fast.
“So, there is the need for higher budget than what was presented and if the value of oil does not go down drastically, and the oil output increases, the economy can meet up without external borrowing,” Tella said.
He, however, tasked the executive and the legislature to address budget delays, noting that it was not good for the economy.
“Given that the budget was signed in the sixth month, eight months after presentation, it is apparent that the legislature needs to show more commitment to developing the economy,” he said.
Tella said the Nigerian economy was public-driven, not private-driven like developed capitalist economies, and that the legislature must recognise this in dealing with budget consideration and approval.
Also speaking, Mr Ambrose Omordion, the Chief Operating Officer, InvestData Ltd., said the President’s speech signaled lack of unity and different goals between the executive and the legislature.
Omordion said the development, if not checked, would make budget implementation difficult.
According to him, the budget would be realistic if only the government could do the needful by reducing its borrowing and use the surplus above the oil price benchmark to finance projects.
He said the government should channel the funds to projects that will have direct impact on the economy and the people.
He also called for change in style, in the disbursement of funds for projects, and that the funds should be disbursed on time, for effective implementation.
On budget delays, Omordion said the development had affected monitoring of project execution, thereby creating economic uncertainties.
“Budget delay in Nigeria is as old as the government; and it has contributed to the slow development and economic growth of Nigeria,” Omordion said.
Reports say that President Buhari, on June 20, signed the appropriation bill of N9.12 trillion into law, after seven months of delay.
The President, however, raised concern over the National Assembly’s injection of strange projects and sundry irregularities into the 2018 budget.
Buhari said the legislators, “made cuts amounting to N347 billion in the allocations to 4,700 projects submitted to them for consideration, and introduced 6,403 projects of their own, amounting to N578 billion.”
Eradiri Faults NDDC Leadership Structure Wants Agric As Top Priority
Describing the leadership structure of the NDDC as faulty, he said that the faulty leadership structure was the reason why President Muhammadu Buhari ordered for a forensic audit in the commission.
Eradiri who is the former president of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC)
disclosed this while speaking to aviation correspondents, last Friday, shortly on arrival at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, from Abuja.
He said the outcome of the forensic audit would be used to do a wholistic reorganisation of the organogram of the commission.
According to him, the wholistic review of the organogram of the NDDC will help in putting the leadership structure in order, and enable things to function properly.
“The leadership structure of NDDC in the past years had been faulty, and that was why the President said there should be forensic audit, which would be used to do a wholistic review of the organogram of NDDC, so that it can function properly.
“The new board is coming soon, but the whole process will pass through the National Assembly to be cleared”, Eradiri said.
On the achievement of the present NDDC management, the special adviser said that the Effiong Akwa led administration had recorded some landmark achievements compared to the last 25 years.
He said that the present interim management within two years completed and commissioned the headquarters of the NDDC, which had been left for over 25 years.
He also said that the completion of the East-West road project had intensified under the present management, adding that NDDC has also supported states on sanitation through donation of trucks.
Eradiri, however, admitted that the present interim management had not taken a firm stand on agricultural development even though it has been working with the Central Bank of Nigeria on the Anchor Borrowers Scheme.
“I believe that the only tool to use and get ourselves out of the quagmire we find ourselves is agriculture, and I think that the NDDC can design its own scheme on how to grow agriculture as a deliberate policy.
“This will bring change that will grow the region’s economy. We must talk about agricultural processing, and we can put palm oil into sachet, and even students can be buying them,” he said.
By: Corlins Walter
Nigeria Lost N851bn To Oil Theft, Sabotage – NEITI
NEITI said this in its latest oil and gas industry audit report.
NEITI stated that it arrived at the estimate after using an average price of $65.61 per barrel and an average exchange rate of N306.42/$ .
It, however, noted that there was a significant reduction of 21 per cent from the previous year, where 53.28 million barrels were lost.
Losses such as these are recorded by companies whose crude volumes are carried through pipelines easily compromised by saboteurs.
The report also stated that some oil terminals recorded no production. These included Aja operated by Bayelsa Oil, whose license was revoked by the government.
Others were Asaramatoru and Oyo managed by Prime and Allied/CAMAC who were reportedly inactive for the year.
Nigeria earned a total of N10.49tn ($34.22bn) from crude oil and gas sales. This was a marginal 4.88 per cent increase from 2018 revenues of N9.99tn ($32.63bn).
The total crude oil production recorded was 735.24 million barrels, a 4.87per cent increase from 701.10 million barrels reported in 2018.
A total of N2.145tn ($7.011bn) was the domestic sales proceeds in 2019 from 107.24 million barrels of crude oil. This was 0.36 per cent lower than the domestic crude sales of 107.63 million barrels in 2018.
Residents Task New Council Chairmen On Dev, Agric Policies
They also urged the council boss to take pragmatic steps and actions towards tackling security challenges to encourage business activities thrive in their domains.
Some of the residents who spoke with The Tide at the weekend, noted that the local government administration in the state had not faired well in terms of real development in recent times, and urged the new council helmsmen to change the narratives.
A resident of Emohua Local Government Area, Mr Charles Amadi, noted that no real development had taken place in the area, lamenting the dearth of companies and small scale industries in the area.
He, therefore, called on the new chairman, Dr. Chidi Lyoid, not to solely depend on the monthly allocation, but to go all out to attract small scale companies to the area so as to create employment opportunities as well as generate revenue for the council.
He also urged the new chairman to invest in agriculture, especially farming and fishing.
On his part, Mr Ebenezer Otamiri who lives in Etche, urged the Etche council boss, Obinna Ayanwu, to consolidate on the achievements recorded in his first tenure, especially by building more markets for the people, as well as initiate good agricultural policy to drive the economy of the area.
He also urged the council boss to tackle the issue of electricity and security in the area, saying electricity and security are key to the development of the area.
In his own charge, Mr Mene Geoffrey Dekaa who hails from Bori in Khana Local Government Area of the state, called on his new council chairman, Bariere Thomas, to show capacity and competence in the area of security.
He noted that the issue of security has left native imprint in the development of the area, saying many investors have left Bori, the headquarters of the council, for other places.
“Because of security challenges, many people have left Bori to build houses and invest in Nonwa- Tai, and Eleme.
“Areas like Kono-Boweeh communities are no go areas, as people there can hardly sleep. So if the chairman can work with government recognised traditional rulers and security agents, security issues will be tackled, and people’s confidence will be restored, and business activities will move on”, he said.
By: Residents Task New Council Chairmen On Dev, Agric Policies
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